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I was speaking with a friend of mine and he was wondering if the Church has said anything about ghost sightings :eek: and what they might be. Could they be souls in Purgatory, evil spirits attempting to fool us. Anyone have any church teaching on this?

– Rick
funny enough i was gonna ask about this too. i was reading recently on some haunted sites in japan, and re-read some theories on ghosts. i always assumed if they are real (i never had ANY supernatural experience in my life) that they would be purgatorial in nature. however, if not, it might be possible when people die they leave “ghost imprints” that re-enact their deaths or parts of their lives. only problem with the imprint theory is that most ghosts seem to interact, so they definitely have an intelligence of their own.

however if both are incorrect, let me propose one other theory i just thought up right now. most people are taught the idea of soul/spirit (spirit being yourself, “you”, and the soul being that which “animates” us (therefore we humans having both spirit/soul, animals it is assumed having only souls) now suppose on our deaths, when we depart, in some instances a “soul” copy is left here. Basically it is similar to the imprint theory, however it is one step beyond that because in this case, we have a copy of us left in this world, but it has a limited intelligence, like that of an animal, so it can be considered “living” (pardon the fact its a ghost) now notice how in most ghost cases, we have a wandering spirit which a: eventually disappear or fade out over time, whether it be decades or centuries and b: it has a single train of thought (its favorite spot to play, place of death, playing in the playroom, etc.) although some times it might do multiple tasks. also notice how spirits interact with people, but their actions are limited, like that of a household pet. basically my idea is that we leave, pardon it sounding rather odd, “soul copies”, which contain limited intelligence, have a limited lifespan, and can interact within a certain degree, and of course contain the strong emotions of that which, we, possesed. ok im gonna stop rambling now and let you guys tell me what you think about this idea.
Crimson, you have an interesting pov. But I have to ask…if we have a “soul copy”, wouldn’t there be more sightings of “ghosts”? Sightings of “ghosts” are rare, aren’t they?

I don’t have a theory as to why some can see ghosts and others never have an encounter. I watched a program on tv once that said some people have an “extra sensory” and can see, feel, hear or smell what others can not. Not sure if this is accurate either, but it made an interesting story.
Well, the answer to this perplexed me for years, but then I read a book called Overcoming the Power of the Occult by Terry Ann Modica. She is a converted Catholic who was involved in the occult for years. If you don’t know, the “occult” means hidden. It is the code word for all of those things that happen in the unseen and cannot be explained by human logic. As we all know, God does things for us that cannot be explained by normal human logic, they are called miracles and we can only ascent to their possibility by an act of faith.

However, there are things that happen that cannot be logically reasoned that are NOT attributable to God. Ouija boards, psychics, seances, communication with the “dead” are more real than most people are willing to admit. But if we are to heed the Church and the Holy Scriptures, we read in Hebrews 9:27 "And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment, ". Once we die, our souls sit before Jesus in what is called the Particular Judgement. We know at that moment whether we have been accepted into the ranks of the saints, or cast amongst the damned. If we are unfit to immediately experience the beatific vision, our soul experiences purgation to cleanse away the temporal effects of our sinliness, even though we are forgiven of the eternal effects of sin.

So, if all men (and women) die, stand before Christ, and then go to Heaven, Purgatory, or Hell, what room is there for us to keep roaming the planet pestering the living. THe only answer is this, the communication with the dead, hauntings, ouija boards, etc… can only be caused by one thing. The forces of the spirit world that want to prevent you from experiencing the truth. Satan and his army. That is the only “Spiritually Reasonable” answer to all things that happen in the world of the paranormal. I recommend you read Ms. Modica’s book, it is available for free in most well stocked church libraries. I hope it helps.
Dear Friends in Christ:
I’ve asked that same question myself, as my daughter saw a ghost at my neices home. She was terrified at the time, but my neice convinced her it was a good ghost.
I’ve talked to many people about this, but I’ve come to my own conclusion. GHOSTS? No such thing. Evil spirits you bet.
As I have been personally involved in this situation, the reasons I’ve come to this conclusion is not scientific. My neice left her family and the church, about 7 yrs ago. She moved in with a man twice her age, and now has a 2 yr old baby. As I believe they are living in sin, and far away from God, it couldn’t be a good spirit. (as she claims). Her home is an angry home. They are constantly fighting, her boyfriend, has told us in the past he has played around with evil stuff. Also her boyfriends son (who visits once a month) and is only 2 yrs younger than her, is a game addict. He plays violent games constantly when he is there, and will never do anything my neice asks him too.
I guess what I’m really trying to say is that their home would be a perfect place for evil spirits to dwell. No God, no peace, no love…equals evil spirits. Hope this make sense…but I get a real bad feeling whenever I’m around them, and to me that’s the Holy Spirit prompting me to be careful.
Hope I’ve helped a bit.
Apologia is right.

Fr. Gabriel Amorth (the famous exorcist) claims that ghosts are actually demons.

There have been very rare instances when souls in purgatory were permitted by God to come to an individual to give them a message (typically to pray very, very much for the Poor Souls) but any other encounter with a “ghost” is actually a visit from the Evil One.

Glenn in KC
We are not likely to know what form purgatory will take until we’re there. And we already know that God allows souls to leave heaven and appear to people on occasion. I see no reason to assume all spiritual appearences are evil, but I still must strongly recommend not intentionally messing around with the occult. I know this from first hand accounts and to a much lesser extent from experience.

God has told us not to mess with the occult and magick, not because it’s not real, but because it’s dangerous. It’s for the same reason you don’t allow a child to drive a car. He could probably get it started, and might even be able to pull out into traffic, but sooner or later he’s gonna crash, and there are other drivers out there who are intentionally hostile and aggressive.

Spiritually we are children. Don’t play in the road.
The reason that God forbids involvement with occultic practices is precisely because it IS real. If someone receives a private revelation from a saint, that is one thing, and it is usually unsolicited. But if one initiates contact with the dead, and Satan can use it to drive a wedge between you and the truth, then Ouija boards are a perfect tool. Getting you to believe in hauntings works too. As I posted before, if the only place for you to go when you die is Heaven, Purgatory, or Hell, then there is no wiggle room for hauntings. You can’t put Jesus on hold because your wife is paging your through her Ouija board. If you are communicating with “spirits”, you have dialed into Satan’s customer service line and he will dispatch as service technician faster than you can say a Hail Mary.
The reason that God forbids involvement with occultic practices is precisely because it IS real. If someone receives a private revelation from a saint, that is one thing, and it is usually unsolicited. But if one initiates contact with the dead, and Satan can use it to drive a wedge between you and the truth, then Ouija boards are a perfect tool. Getting you to believe in hauntings works too. As I posted before, if the only place for you to go when you die is Heaven, Purgatory, or Hell, then there is no wiggle room for hauntings. You can’t put Jesus on hold because your wife is paging your through her Ouija board. If you are communicating with “spirits”, you have dialed into Satan’s customer service line and he will dispatch as service technician faster than you can say a Hail Mary.
But not as strong as a Hail Mary.
To say that all ghosts are demons flies in the face of many of the testimonies of those who have seen ghosts. While I agree with you that some ghost sightings are probably evil spirits some others could just as easily be angels. Of course, most “ghost” sightings are really just our eyes playing tricks on us.
Ok. Totally personal opinion and experience:-

I was born and raised in England. Only moved here when I was 30. (Now 39).There is a far greater acceptance of things supernatural in Britain where the ancient exists right alongside the 21st century. Ancient occultic practices have continued throught the ages up to the present day. Reports of ghosts, apparitions, an evil presence, benevolent sprits giving warnings which saved lives, angels, for example, are many and varied. I myself have experienced the presence of evil, and several close family members and friends have felt a distinct presence or seen an apparition. One actually spoke and manifested itself to a friend in a way which was not as you would read in a book or see in a movie, and the next day this long-haired biker buddy was a white as the proverbial!! Another adult mother and daughter saw and heard the same ‘ghost’. A friend’s house now has on it a notice declaring it officially ‘haunted’!! I also used to ‘do’ ouija boards with friends as a teenager and found them to be disturbingly real - and EVIL.

Thankfully the Lord used the conviction I gained that the supernatural was real to direct me to him. My reasoning went - if evil is real and powerful, logically, so must be the Good force.
This affirmed my belief in God and grew into a deep faith.

Make of this what you will. :confused: Personally my feeling is they are either angels or demons. Demons obviously must have the power and capacity to mimic (counterfeit) those who have passed on. I don’t know enough about Purgatory to say if souls may come back to give messages but Regenhund seems to know what he is talking about and talked a lot of sense.

I hope others who don’t know God will also be convicted by the supernatural in the same way and avoid the occult like the black death it is!

Elizabeth Mary
just because some occultists will clump ghosts along with their practices doesnt make it occultic, just as catholic haters will clump us with non-christian beliefs and practices, does that then mean we are non-christian? furthermore, ouji boards and diving and other practices all are rites which a user must initiate. most people see ghosts when they least expect to, and have done nothing to bring the ghosts into that particular spot. and if all ghosts are demonic in nature, then they are doing a terrible job, since if their purpose is to drive people away from God, then i havent heard of any people turning to child sacrifice after seeing a ghost. lastly whats so hard to accept the fact that ghosts are simply (assuming they are our disembodied spirits) in a state of purgatory? if purgatory is a “cleansing” then the idea of a ghost would make more sense since most ghosts seem to stick around to “right a past wrong” and usually stay around until it has been fixed or corrected.(as happens in most cases documented by parapsychologists)

lastly lets not be superstitious and take anything unknown or mysterious and immediately clump it together with demons and such, it’s not like were still a bunch of cavemen who blame thunderstorms on the wrath of the lighting-gods.
o_o What about ghost children? There have been sightings of ghost children, but they’re always playing or playfully teasing people that come into contact with them.
I know in Scripture in the OT, Saul wanted to speak with Samuel, who was dead, so a psychic (who was a fake) conjured up the spirit of Samuel. To her suprise, it was God who did it, to prove to herself who God is. :eek:
And of course, Jesus would cast out demons, spirits, and ghosts. :eek:

In 1988 when my father was in the hospital in ICU, he claimes to have seen a white figure walking down the hall and the ghost turned around and shook his head ‘no’ at my dad and left. :eek:
My father did not bring this up until 5 years later. If it was an evil spirit, then the spirit knew that he wasn’t going to get my father. In 2001, my father was welcomed into the Catholic Church, but passed away in 2002.
Another story involves my mother’s brother. He was on his deathbead and claimed to see my grandparents and my mother sitting on the side of the bed. They asked him, ‘what is taking you so long?’ :eek: Two weeks later, my uncle passed away.

Any thoughts about these two stories?

Go with God!
o_o Wow, that is both creepy and cool.

Creepy: the hospital ghost.
Cool: the grandparents and the mother.

Well, cool if they were like “What’s taking you so long? n_n” but creepy if they were saying it like “What’s taking you so long?!!! >:C”
I lived in a haunted house as a child. I saw and experienced things I knew were evil and my brother and I used to compare notes.

I believe that ghosts are demons, and that there is another theory…at some apparitions are actually nothing at all, just an “imprint” caused by a very emotional time and event for someone. (Like the shadows in Nagasaki burned into the remains). But some ghosts are only shadows unintelligent as the souls are not really there.

Those ghosts that want to communicate are demons, and they will do their best to snare you.

A few years ago, I was riding with my boyfriend at the time, a non-religious person. (He’s not against religion, just afraid of committment to any course of action that doesn’t involve patriotic duty such as the military). Anyway, he said hello to a female friend of his from high school who had been murdered by her then-boyfriend. We were nearing the cemetary.

At that moment I felt a presence in his car and I knew that if I turned around, she would be sitting in the back seat. I know she was there and it freaked me out. As we moved away from the cemetary, the feeling faded.

Hours later I told him my feeling and that Kami said “Hi.” He choked up and told me he didn’t know how I knew that. I didn’t know either and although there was no actual evil feeling, I knew that if this happened on a regular basis that I would need to find an exorcist. I asked God to keep me from another experience like this.

I didn’t like the implication. A friend told me that I may be a natural medium…and I don’t wish to be so. I don’t want to communicate with people I’ve alreday paid my respects to at their funerals.

Thank God I have not had a repeat of that experience but I can tell you that when I get a feeling of another presence, I know that it’s not God…and I start praying.
I have no desire whatsoever to see ghosts. God knows this. In places where I didn’t feel safe, I’ve asked God to not let me see what I don’t want to see. So far I haven’t, thank God.
I truly believe that spirits visit us on earth. I can’t say what the Church teaches on the matter, but I know from personal expierence they do exist. I have never seen or heard of any evil “ghosts” (I prefer spirits)… But that dosen’t mean to say it dosen’t exist…

Just my 2 cents on that subject… very interesting though.
Let me share an experiance with you all. When I was a younger lad, one night my mother and I heard the sound of something like keys being shaken in the middle of the night. She goes downstairs, investigates and nothing is downstairs. Mourning comes and we receive a phone call from Poland. Turns out her mother (my grandmother) died at the very hour that we heard the noise. Is it out of line to say that her spirit visited us?
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